#1
Hi
I currently play in a metal/rock band with a "standard" lineup (vocals/guitar/bass/drums). We often find ourselfs limited by having only 2 instruments when writing songs and we're thinking about adding a synth/sample guy to the band instead of a 2nd guitarists to expand our possibilities.

Now I'm not really familiar with bands using synths and I'd want to get a better idea of how we could implement those sounds in our band.

I'd like to hear a listen to some bands that use synth/electro elements, without going flat out industrial or too electronic/trance (things like abandon all ships ).
A few examples of what I'm thinking:
my sweet shadow - in flames
modern wolf hair - chiodos
light the torch - soilwork
far beyond metal - SYL
sleepwalking - bring me the horizon

Could you recommend me some songs/bands to listen to give me a better idea of the use of synths in metal/rock?


PS: I'm not sure this is the right forum for my post, feel free to tell me if there is a more appropriate forum
#2
Well it can be used as background noise, or to accompany music itself. It can be used in excess or moderation or one little interlude.

These two tracks use synth very little but use it to complement the music already playing. Whereas the Kawir track uses it more but still with the same underlying qualities.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5v8QOhZb1wg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLbA6KbcqEk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEkZ7BoEN10

Bands can use synth to add to specific segments of music where the synth use is very heavily overlayed the music or to add synth to create an entirely distinct segment of music within the track, good example is here (also Greek):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lWo0LE2Hc8

You have your bands or side-acts that create entire albums from purely synth. But it definitely isn't done in a way that makes it look or feel like electronic music. Never got that feeling, but that's irrelevant really, here's an example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Jo0Z7aaALs

It's more prominent in metal that you'll get more cases of adding synthesizer underlying the riffs. Maybe others have more insight, it's just what I've heard. But take a listen, don't get put off by the vocals on any of them. Try to see where the music is coming from or what it's trying to do.

I also neglected power/heavy metal for no good reason. There are a multitude of examples in each genre. If you want a specific genre, I might be able to track a few down for you. But if it's music like the ones you mentioned, I don't know too much about those bands.
#4
Journey to the End by Windir is well known for its lengthy synth section to end the album. Though if you are going to go the synth route, you would not just be limited to electronic sounding synths, as most synthesizers excel at produce a wide range of string and organ sounds (albeit clearly synthetic sounding).

There are plenty of metal bands that make excellent use of organ and string sounds in a very tasteful way, and I would imagine that most of the Metal regs would agree that doom metal, particularly funeral doom, does so exceedingly well. Bands like Thergothon and Skepticism would be perfect examples. Viking metal bands such as Falkenbach also frequently use synth string sounds.

In addition, keep in mind that synths are known for some of the great lead patches, particularly the square and saw sounds of monophonic synthesizers by companies such as Moog. These tend to be more at home in progressive and power metal than any other subgenre. Pretty much any keyboard heavy power or prog band will feature those. You can also check out prog rock bands like ELP or Rush to hear that sort of thing. Pink Floyd's Welcome to the Machine is also a good example. Otherwise bands like Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica, PowerQuest, etc have plenty of stuff to check out.

I used to play synth in a doom/melodic death metal band fairly recently. I will try to dig up some stuff later maybe to show the kind of stuff we used.
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Last edited by theogonia777 at Mar 14, 2015,
#7
Dimmu Borgir.
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#9
Quote by Kytokinesis
Caladan Brood and Summoning


I think thats cheating. Hell, calling them metal bands today is a stretch.


Anyway, synths are very common in metal. However mostly it is used to simulate some kind of orchestra or choir. Melodies and atmosphere. Stereotypical example would be, old Dimmu Borgir.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gtx_UisuXAY


or Summoning
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBfkDH3F1GA


And regarding my earlier joking about Summoning here this band has become full Lord Of The Rings soundtrack wannabe (before the movies were even released). Barely any guitars that is. Awesome band though.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNFGvZjtvkw


Anyway if it is more The Synth synth sounds, as in stuff you find in the techno/trance music I dont know any good examples. Does The Berzerker count with their drum sound?

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Last edited by MaaZeus at Mar 16, 2015,
#10
I don't think "barely any guitars" is an adequate description for any Summoning album since they are integral to every release.
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#11
Quote by VampireGoldfish
I don't think "barely any guitars" is an adequate description for any Summoning album since they are integral to every release.



Simply exaggerating for the fun of it. Though in case of Let Mortal Heroes Sing Thy Fame album the guitars really are in the backseat simply popping out for highlights here and there and dont you bloody try to claim otherwise.

Except song Farewell but that sounds like it should have been on Stronghold originally.

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Last edited by MaaZeus at Mar 16, 2015,
#12
Quote by MaaZeus
Simply exaggerating for the fun of it. Though in case of Let Mortal Heroes Sing Thy Fame album the guitars really are in the backseat simply popping out for highlights here and there and dont you bloody try to claim otherwise. .


As soon as the album starts with South Away, you have a riff. That riff is used repeatedly throughout the song. "Crown of seven kings etc" would not be the same without the trem picked tapestry of the guitar. It picks up underneath "Hail etc" giving the song the further momentum it needs. The first riff returns again, establishing the motif even further. Notice how when the guitar breaks 3/4 through the song, it feels destressed? That's because the guitar is the main driving force. When it returns, the song is pushed forward again.

Hollow Halls Beneathe the Falls once again starts with an introductory riff that establishes the songs gait. The riff stops, the song is destressed, and moves forward again with the riff returning. The momentum of the song reaches its peak with "Dwarves of yore...." from the guitar pick up. Textural guitar playing does not mean "no guitars."

Our Foes Shall Fall is littered with guitar work. The slick swaying back and forth of the first riff is incredible. It is followed by more guitar momentum and textural work. Notice again how the destressed break of the song is accented by a lack of guitar work? Once again the importance of this instrument to Summoning's sound is made more clear. The song returns with momentum using that original riff; integral to the songs motif.

I can keep going if you'd like?
A heathen, conceivably
but not,

I hope,
I’m not ashamed to be white
Vi doede ikke... vi har aldri levd
Barbarism is the natural state of mankind
Civilization is unnatural

It is a whim of circumstance
an unenlightened one
Last edited by VampireGoldfish at Mar 16, 2015,
#13
I see you do understand Summonings music really well, but again the guitar is used on the highlights of the songs when things get BIG, grabs your balls and cause goosebumps on your arms. And it does so effectively. The South Away sounds massive, and its amazing. Rest of the song, and quite big part of the album, is dominated by other intruments during the calm parts and build ups, with (to my ears) some kind of midi imitation of Viola or Cello doing the guitar-like riffing. Or am I mistaken on the last part?

Anyway, you are taking this way too seriously and kinda missing the point. I was merely joking and exaggerating about Summonings massive use of keyboards and other instruments instead of guitar, especially considering how much some tr00 metalheads judge the dominating use of keyboards in metal music. And yes, even Summoning has gotten that shit piled on them.

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Last edited by MaaZeus at Mar 16, 2015,
#15
Quote by Kytokinesis


Okay, on this I failed hard and deserve all the flames from it. I remembered something completely different than this.

God damnit...

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#16
Quote by MaaZeus
stuff


No worries. Just pointing out how I think Summoning extensively uses guitar work on every album.
A heathen, conceivably
but not,

I hope,
I’m not ashamed to be white
Vi doede ikke... vi har aldri levd
Barbarism is the natural state of mankind
Civilization is unnatural

It is a whim of circumstance
an unenlightened one
#17
Quote by VampireGoldfish
No worries. Just pointing out how I think Summoning extensively uses guitar work on every album.


At least we are on the same wavelength on the fact that Summoning is awesome.

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#21
Legit analogue synth wizardry around the middle. This is not an attempt at emulating choirs, organs, or any of the sort.

Bow before the mighty square wave

4:27, for those deprived of patience

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZSCgcPc3Dc


For metal with the essence of electronic music, look no further:
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Last edited by The Wildchild at Mar 17, 2015,
#22
I just remember something that might be up to TS's alley. I cant believe I forgot this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PQQOkd9oAs

*edit* **** it, might as well put the whole album link here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8czMG450fQ

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Last edited by MaaZeus at Mar 20, 2015,